PFAS Litigation Updates



The world of PFAS litigation is quickly evolving. As regulatory scrutiny of these compounds increases, so, too, will the body of associated case law. From class actions to multidistrict litigation, this section will regularly highlight developments in PFAS-related litigation.

Content in this section does not reflect the opinion of Alston & Bird or its attorneys.

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Judge Throws Out PFAS Litigation in Hamptons for Lack of Standing

A New York district judge dismissed a complaint brought against the federal government by four East Hampton, New York residents seeking to halt construction of the South Fork Wind Farm and the South Fork Export Cable Project, an offshore wind facility. According to the residents, the onshore trenching caused by the South Fork Export Cable Project would allegedly worsen existing PFAS contamination in their private wells. The residents maintained that the federal government was at fault for issuing permits for the project without sufficiently considering the possibility of additional PFAS contamination. The government moved to dismiss for lack of standing, explaining that while it issued permits to construct the offshore wind farm, the New York Public Service Commission was responsible for issuing permits for the onshore route of the South Fork Export Cable Project, which included the trenching that the residents complained of. Because the residents could not show causation, the government claimed the residents lacked standing. The judge agreed with the government and dismissed the complaint.

July 17, 2023 | Mahoney, et al., v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 2:22-cv-01305 (E.D.N.Y.).

3M Pays $10.3 Billion to Settle PFAS Liability With Water Systems

3M has reached a $10.3 billion settlement with public water systems over drinking water contamination linked to use of AFFF containing PFAS. The landmark 3M agreement will see the company pay PFAS treatment and testing at water systems that have detected contamination or do so in the future, while avoiding any admission of liability. The deal is still subject to judicial approval.

City of Stuart, Florida v. The 3M Co., et al., No. 2:18-cv-03487 (D.S.C. June 22, 2023).
In re Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:18-mn-02873
(D.S.C. June 22, 2023).

More State AG Suits Against PFAS Manufacturers

Arizona, Arkansas, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington joined Rhode Island and other states that had previously filed lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers. Alleging harm to their natural resources and property as well as threats to public health and safety, these states seek to recover mounting costs associated with investigating, testing for, and remediating PFAS in drinking water and in the environment more broadly. They assert common law tort claims such as nuisance and negligence as well as state statutory claims under consumer protection and environmental laws.

State of Arkansas v. 3M Company et al., No. 72CV-23-1583 (Washington Cnty. Circuit Ct. June 5, 2023)
State of Oregon v. 3M Company et al., 23CV21902 (Multnomah Cnty. Circuit Ct. May 31, 2023)
State of Maryland v. 3M Company et al., 24C23002528 (Baltimore City Circuit Ct. May 30, 2023)
State of Maryland v. 3M Company et al., 24C23002529 (Baltimore City Circuit Ct. May 30, 2023)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. EIDP, Inc. et al., 259 MD 2023 (Commonwealth Ct. May 30, 2023)
State of Washington v. 3M Company et al., No. 23-2-09821-8 SEA (King Cnty. Super. Ct. May 30, 2023)
State of New Mexico et al. v. 3M Company et al., D-101-CV-2023-01158 (Santa Fe Cnty. Dist Ct. May 26, 2023)
State of Arizona v. 3M Company et al., No. CV2023-008075 (Maricopa Cnty. Super. Ct. May 26, 2023)

Rhode Island Initiates PFAS Litigation

The Rhode Island Attorney General recently filed suit against 3M Company, Dupont de Nemours Inc., and other companies in the Superior Court of Providence County, Rhode Island seeking damages for the cost of investigating and remediating PFAS contamination.  While referencing the many applications of PFAS, Rhode Island’s complaint specifically alleges that state agencies, working with Brown University, have detected “significantly elevated” concentrations of PFAS in numerous public water systems and private wells located near fire stations, airports, and military bases where PFAS-containing aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) was used.  The Rhode Island Attorney General maintains that the named defendants should be liable for the State’s costs under failure to warn, design defect, public nuisance, trespass, and unjust enrichment theories, and also under the State’s environmental, pollution, and deceptive trade practices statutes.

State of Rhode Island v. 3M Company et al., No. PC-2023-02452 (Bristol Cnty. Super. Ct. May 25, 2023).

Court Greenlights Pet Food Packaging Case

A putative class action against Smucker alleges that Smucker falsely represented pet food products are healthy when in fact the food allegedly contains titanium dioxide, and the packaging “contain (or risk containing)” PFAS. The pet owner’s claims—including consumer protection, false advertising, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation claims—survived Smucker’s motion to dismiss. As in other consumer class actions targeting PFAS on food packaging, the plaintiff in this case alleges that PFAS migrate onto the food and thereby pose health risks, yet the presence of PFAS is not disclosed to consumers.

Humphrey et al. v. The J.M. Smucker Company, No. 3:22-cv-06913-WHO (C.D. Cal. May 22, 2023)